- To proscribe is to make something illegal, or to forbid something to be done, or to banish someone for wrongdoing.
- When the legislature passes a law banning the use of marijuana, this is an example of a time when it proscribes the use of marijuana.
- When a religion forbids a specific practice by its believers, this is an example of a proscribe by the religion.
transitive verbproscribed, proscribing
- in ancient Rome, to publish the name of (a person) condemned to death, banishment, etc.
- to deprive of the protection of the law; outlaw
- to banish; exile
- to denounce or forbid the practice, use, etc. of; interdict
Origin of proscribeMiddle English proscriben ; from Classical Latin proscribere ; from pro-, pro- + scribere, to write: see scribe
transitive verbpro·scribed, pro·scrib·ing, pro·scribes
- To prohibit; forbid: foods that are proscribed by religious dietary laws. See Synonyms at forbid.
- To denounce or condemn: “The small sins of natural pleasure that we see &ellipsis; mildly proscribed in the confession manuals of the late Middle Ages” (James Turner).
- a. To banish or outlaw (a person): “Emperors took it on themselves to proscribe heretics” (Garry Wills).b. To publish the name of (a person) as outlawed.
Origin of proscribeMiddle English proscriben, from Latin prōscrībere, to put up someone's name as outlawed : prō-, in front; see pro–1 + scrībere, to write; see skrībh- in Indo-European roots.
- The latter pronunciation is used when added distinction from prescribe is desired.
(third-person singular simple present proscribes, present participle proscribing, simple past and past participle proscribed)
- Avoid the erroneous construction “proscribe against"; substitute “proscribe" alone or the phrase “prescribe against".